How to Grow a Giant Pumpkin: Secrets to Growing 1000+ Pound Pumpkins

welcome to this presentation giant

pumpkin growing in 101 plus advanced

growing tips for experienced growers

my name is Jamie Johnson and I'm going

to be walking you through how to grow a

giant pumpkin or grow a bigger giant

pumpkin in this next season a little bit

about myself I've been growing giant

pumpkins for ten years you may have seen

me on a TV show called the marriage raft

talking about giant pumpkins with some

different celebrities

I live in Midway Utah moved here from

Denver about a year and a half ago I'm

the founder of a website design business

frightening wood picks a web design and

strategy and on my blog at giant

pumpkins calm you can read about

everything I do during a giant pumpkin

growing season I'm this presentation

we're going to discuss all the different

phases of growing the giant pumpkin

during a season we're also going to talk

about things where if you're a

first-time Gore or someone was maybe

looking to put a little extra into their

pumpkin patch but maybe not looking to

grow a giant pumpkin or take the time to

do those types of things we're going to

talk about things that will call

optional in this where you can still

grow a 500 700 800 900 pound pumpkin and

basically anything that is going to grow

you a giant pumpkin I'm going to talk

about it we're not gonna hold anything

back in this presentation giant pumpkin

growing is really about mitigating risk

which you know in the business world

when you talk about mitigating risk

you're trying to take away the the bad

things from happening and so in giant

pumpkin grow and there could be a lot of

different things that can mess up a

season real quickly anything from

disease to hell storms too cold to heat

and we're going to talk about the things

you can do to help mitigate that risk

really a genetics in a giant pumpkin

seed is there you know most seeds will

get you a thousand pound pumpkin some

seeds will get you a 2000 pound pumpkin

meaning the potentials there for that to

happen former world record

holder Betty Meyer grew three pumpkins

that were world records size and thus in

a single season so you know there's

magic seed so to speak in that some

seeds will grow better than others but I

think Betty showed us that if you use

the right techniques you can grow a

giant pumpkin consistently with a little

bit of luck you know whether and those

types of things have to come into play

but as long as you try to mitigate those

factors you know if you create

environments where the pumpkin feels

like it it wants to grow then good

things are gonna happen if you think top

growers are using secret fertilizers or

you know something that's making them

grow giant pumpkins consistently I know

enough heavy hitters so to speak that of

our own world records and growing world

record sized pumpkins and in speaking

with them there are there are no secrets

and from my own experience

the only real secret is the thing that

you maybe haven't learned yet but

there's there's not some secret formula

that people have gotten hidden and just

a few people have access to so taking

that out of the way you know that you

can grow a pumpkin as big as anyone else

in the world it takes some time it takes

some experience takes a little luck but

not a lot of luck it when we're talking

about giant pumpkin growing we first

have to talk about seed not all Roenick

giant seeds are created equal so if you

go down your local Home Depot and you

grab a packet of ilanic giant seeds

which are the only seeds that's gonna

grow you a pumpkin or really anything

for that matter that's over a thousand

pounds you may not have the genetic

potential in those seeds but most

competitive growers if you ask them for

a seed they'll give it to you so you

know a self-addressed stamped envelope

and a few kind words can go a long ways

and getting you some great scenes here's

some seeds that I'm gonna be growing

this next season and I'm real grateful


a couple of different growers allowing

me to be able to grow these seeds next

year when you see a seed you'll see I it

will see something like 21 45 McMullen

so that's the name of the seed in this

case this court put the year that the

seed or the pumpkin was grown which was

2015 the seed name

21:45 McMullen is the weight of the

pumpkin so this came from a pumpkin that

weighed 2,000 145 pounds the growers

last name is McMullen and then in the

brackets here is 1756 how so the this

would be mama so this would be the plant

that this pumpkin came from and this

would be the Papa so in other words this

was the pollinator the 1625 Gantner and

so when you're talking about giant

pumpkin seeds if someone throws out

something like a 2009 Wallace or 767

something that's telling you the weight

of the seed and the name of the grower

that it came from when we talk about

giant pumpkin growing we have to talk

about good soil and really you know 80%

of a pumpkins potential during the

season is pretty much determined on the

day that you plant that seed so what's

in that soil is what's going to feed

that plant it's what's gonna push the

pumpkin along and without the nutrients

and everything that's required by a

plant to be able to grow being in that

soil so you're gonna have a lot in

trouble so good soil preparation starts

with the soil test I hear a lot of

different new growers asked you know

what's the best fertilizer to grow a

giant pumpkin and any experienced

growers gonna say the best fertilizer is

the fertilizer that the plant needs and

you don't really know exactly what's

available to your plant in that soil

until you get a soil test there's a

number of different good labs that you

can have that done app so well

perforation usually starts in the fall

and you can do it in the spring but

usually you're gonna have a little bit

better luck if you get things prepped in

the fall and then in the spring

get a soil test once you get that test

back you make adjustments add additional

amendments as required and so you want

to get that soil as balanced as as

possible when you've got that plant into

the ground one great thing about giant

pumpkins they seem to kind of have a

range that they can be relatively happy

with when we're talking about different

nutrients in the soil we're going to

talk about parts per million ppm and

really they're those numbers or

guidelines to help us get things in the

right sort of balance but the right kind

of balance is really depending on what

you had in your soil and so we're going

to talk about that a little bit in this

presentation good soil like we said it

starts off with a soil test best way to

do that is in your planting area your

pumpkin patch is take you know 10 12

samples of soil you're gonna want about

one to two cups of soil and basically

you'll put that in a ziploc bag and then

send that off for the soil test

oftentimes the different soil testing

agencies will allow you to pay for

recommendations of what that means is

they'll not only give you the report

back showing the parts-per-million for

your different parts of your soil but as

well as they'll give you recommendations

and exactly what you need to do to get

that soil balance and if you follow

those guidelines you're well on your way

to growing a great pumpkin to the labs

that i've used in the past and there's

many western laboratories doctor in

Parma Idaho John tab and era is genius

he's spent a great deal of time doing

tests with pumpkin plants and they can

give you a great recommendation a little

bit more expensive but you'll get some

fantastic numbers and and guidelines in

our Western labs out of Oregon is

another lab that I've used a little bit

less expensive and equally is good one

thing I always recommend is when you're

getting your

testing done I I would use the same lab

each and every year different labs will

use a little bit different techniques

for their testing and that of course can

give you wide differences in numbers and

so once you start with a lab it's

probably best to stick with that same

lab best use the recommendations in the

report to figure out what you need to

add so here's the soil test on a brand

new patch I moved into a new home about

two years ago and Senate tests into the

lab after I had done some really quick

patch prep and these are the numbers you

get back so you see things like the

nitrogen's here and potassium phosphorus

and in this case this particular lab

will color code things sort of think

something's a little low it gives you

that indication and something's a little

high I even though I'm a over a mile in

altitude there's literally seashells

that I will sometimes find an old ocean

bed and so because that I've got high

calcium much higher than you would

prefer to have so these soil tests are

fantastic and figuring out exactly what

you've got and what you need to do with

that soil good soil has a organic matter

in it organic matter is typically in the

range of four to nine percent

some girls have grown giant pumpkins in

the fifteen and twenty percent range I

think there's a higher risk of disease

and pathogens developing in the soil if

you you get into that higher percentage

of organic matter but some growers

choose to go there different sources of

organic matter compost grass clippings

peat moss leaves alfalfa pellets kelp

Nell and the list goes on

organic matter is going to help retain

moisture it's going to add nutrients

it's going to build biology though

you'll see worms where maybe you haven't

seen worms before once you get that

organic matter building up in the soil

that organic matter

when it starts heating up during the

seasons gonna start releasing those

nutrients into the soil particularly

nitrogen as well as other things it adds

air pockets for roots to grow so it

loosens up the soil both the tilth

and it also buffers pH swings when we

talk about pH sometimes you'll hear high

pH low pH or also referred to as

alkaline and if you can keep your soil

in a pH around six point seven to seven

would be ideal because more nutrients

are available to the plant when the the

pH is in that range an organic matter

can help buffer that pH or in other

words help keep it in a way that is

going to be more beneficial to the

plants nitrogen is importance of plants

nitrogen is what helps build the plant

it helps you know grow the leaves that

grows the vines it can be hard to get an

exact number for for nitrogen

it'll easily leach out of the soil but

if typically if you're in the 20 to 40

parts per million range you should be in

good shape

ammonium sulfate urea blood meal fish

fertilizer compost I'll found four urea

calcium nitrate all great sources of

nitrogen for the plant some were faster

releasing some are slower during the the

first half of the plant's growth eighty

percent of the nitrogen requirements are

gonna be assimilated so for the first

half of the season we're gonna want to

add more nitrogen or give more nitrogen

in the form of fertilizer of the plant

second half of the season what we're

gonna back off on the nitrogen some and

start feeding the pumpkin so nitrogen

you can kind of think about is what

grows the salad or the leaves and the

vines of the plant ammonia nitrogen is

one of the most readily available forms

of nitrogen in the plant meaning the the

plant can readily take it up

nitrate nitrogens can take 10 to 20% of

the plants energy to assimilate the

nitrates it tends to add to the top

grill so you know the vines and the

leaves but it can restrict the the root

growth or if you get a little bit too

high it can also do any flowering if

it's overdone but the plant can can have

higher nitrate demands during binding so

that point of the season where the vines

are really growing fast nitrate demands

maybe a little bit higher personally I

like to add a little bit of blood meal

around that time of the season which is

a fast-acting form of a nitrate nitrogen

it also tends to easily least from the

soil so if you have heavy heavy rains in

the spring it's possible that your

nitrates could be leaching out of the

soil so you you have to be cognizant to

that so even though your soil tested to

be in the season may say you're right

where you want to be a lot of

precipitation you know over days and

days could start flushing that out so

you may want to watch the plant see what

it's telling you if belief colors

getting a little bit more yellow that

could be a sign of nitrogen deficiency

if vine growth starts slowing down

another sign that nitrogen may be low

and when you think about nitrogen also

remember you know you've got stored up

nitrogen that may not be readily

available to the plant but as the

microbes and that start eating away at

that organic matter it'll start

releasing the available nitrogen to the

plant so there there's gonna be kind of

a blossoming of available nitrogen as

the season continues this soil has

phosphorus in it and the 25 to 60 parts

per million range phosphorus is the

energy element so it's it's it's about

brooding it's about growing flowers if

you add too much phosphorus and I tell

you this from experience it's really

hard to get it out of the soil it

doesn't leach and so basically if the

plants gonna have to use it up remember

we talked about you want to keep the

soil in balance so any one nutrient

that's too high in the soil

causes problems for your plants any one

nutrient it's too low could cause

balance for your plants so you got to

keep it a happy meat medium if your soil

is high in phosphorous you may want to

back off a little bit on your fertilizer

program let that plant kind of use up

what's available there and then add

later once your soil tests and tissue

tests may show otherwise different

sources mono ammonium phosphate is one

of my favorites

there's some testing that I've seen that

root mass can be 20% larger if it's used

in the first three weeks of the plant

growth other forms rock phosphate bone

meal Berlin's not a favorite it's an

organic source but very slowly released

compost of course it's going to add

phosphorus to the soil line of giant

seem to be able to use what it needs

from this world

John tavern airs tests shows some

interesting things about phosphorus and

how Atlantic giant plants use it in the

ways that it wants to rather than it can

kind of take what it needs out of the

soil which is pretty unique

potassium typically you wander around

the 375 parts per million range pumpkins

will consume large amounts of potassium

if you are do it do a test on a pumpkin

you would find it's very high in

potassium so it's poor a lot of

potassium out of the soil different

sources are things such as sulphate of

potash leaves compost kelp mill green

sand during heavy fruit and flower

production the plant can deplete

available potassium in to fit to

deficient levels in as little as 3 to 4

days so what that basically means is is

what's around the root so what's close

to the root and available for the root

to take up can be depleted very quickly

so potassium is one of those ones

particularly when the pumpkin is growing

quickly that I like to give a little

extra boost to make sure that there's

constantly red available a new

and when I'm talking about that I'm

talking about spoon feeding the plan

you've given it just a little bit of

what it needs all the time and making

sure that the plant ever doesn't ever

get depleted but at the same time making

sure that we don't get a buildup of more

than what we need potassium is a

catalyst carbohydrate metabolism so you

know it's building up a lot of different

things using that potassium you got to

be careful with potassium just like any

other nutrient too much of it can be act

acting antagonistic to the uptake of

calcium and magnesium and it's really

easy to start adding compost and other

things that soil where your potassium

will maybe get a little bit too high and

get out of that ideal range calcium is

another important nutrient to all plants

but pumpkin plants in particular consume

a lot of calcium sources there would be

things such as gypsum calcium nitrate

Celtic limestone Don white you need to

be knowledgeable when you're using

calcium to the what type of pH your cell

has so if you're in the West or if you

have high pH soils typically you're

gonna want to use gypsum and areas where

the soil pH tends to be low other forms

in the limestone ideally or what you

want to do it's going to build cells

walls so they can actually kind of glue

the cell walls together it makes for

healthier plants it makes for healthier

stocks and actor activates enzymes that

turn on growth hormones so calcium is an

important component things called aminos

and particularly glycine and glutamic

acids can aid in the uptake of calcium

they can act as a key later which

basically means it makes those that

calcium more available to the plant but

not only that it can actually open up

ion channels in the roots

by the thousands so where calcium may be

able to only go through one spot it can

open up thousands of spots and the roots

and help that calcium get up take uptake

into the plant born is an important

element in the calcium uptake you have

to be very very careful with barrel

boron because a little bit too much can

become toxic to the plant but it helps

transport calcium into the pumpkin plant

good soil is about micronutrients that

include things such as boring copper

manganese iron and zinc make sure you

follow recommendations given from from

your soil test when adding those a

little bit too much for any of these

could become toxic to the plant when

you're adding anything to sort of really

you need to know what's in it before

yata it and sometimes it's hard to know

what what's what's in a package so to

speak so for example you may buy a bag

of humic acid humic acid is a fantastic

thing to use because it makes nutrients

more available to a plant in other words

it helps allow the plant pull it in but

things such as a forty pound bag of

humic acid let's say you put 20 pounds

of humic acid down in the patch a lot of

times it doesn't label it as a

fertilizer and as such it won't

necessarily say how much nitrogen or

phosphorus or potassium is in it humic

acid actually has potassium in it

depending on the source it can be a

moderate amount of potassium so you may

be putting down a firm on and potassium

without even knowing it things like

leaves can be high in potassium also

high in calcium chicken manure can be

high in salts can also be very high in

nitrogen so make sure you do your

research before you do add things to the

past because you may be surprised with

when you look at that soil test and you

see that things have gotten way out of

whack and you come to find out that you

may be adding things in the soil that

you didn't even know was there

cover crops I love doing cover crops

usually Oh what I'll do as soon as the

season is done is I'll try to get a

cover crop planted I like to use winter

rye because it does well in my

environment which is you know cold hard

winters and it'll stay green and grow a

little bit throughout the winter once

it's established and then when the

spring warmth comes it just takes off

it's it's gonna add organic matter it's

gonna build biology in the soil it's

gonna add readily available nutrients

one of my favorite things is it

suppresses weeds so that's gonna help

that grass is gonna help block out weeds

in the early part of the season what I

do is I till my planting area to two and

a half weeks before I actually put that

pumpkin plant in the ground and that

gives time for the the biology to break

down that grass in the soil but I'm

usually I'm just doing about it you know

an 8 by 8 foot area right where I'm

applying the plant but I'll leave the

rest of that winter rye growing and once

the pumpkin starts to vine out then I'll

start tilling out in front of it you got

to make sure those pumpkin roots can go

way out so you got to make sure your

your not telling where the roots are but

I'll tell that the rest of that window

right into the soil adds a great tilt to

the soil it's helping the soil from

getting compacted and it's it's keeping

the weeds down so typically I won't have

to really start weeding until about July

which is awesome because I hate waiting

it can be a great deal of work and so

you're adding things to your soil at the

same time building the biology and

getting a lot of extra benefits from it

seed starting most growers are going to

start their seeds anywhere from April

1st to the xxi I would say tax day is a

good target day for many growers

depending on your environment and what

your weather is like

seed starting is usually started indoors

what you might want to do is sand the

edges of the seeds of the little rounded

edge you lightly sand all around it

except for the pointed area you don't

want to do the pointy end because that's

where the roots going to come out and

you don't want to damage that area so

you lightly sand it by sanding it it's

gonna help when that plant the

germinates and sprouts to snap off that

kind of thick shell and so it can help

the plant get going early on I like to

put a little drop of liquid seaweed in

in humic acid into the water and I'll

soak that seed for 6 to 24 hours after

soaking it I like to use what's called

the paper towel methods what I do is I

take a paper towel I wet it lightly and

basically so the entire paper towels

moist and then I bring it out so there's

I can't even get a water water out of it

but it should be lightly moist I then

put this pulls up that paper towel put

the seed in it then put a I put that

into a ziplock bag and at that point

I'll put that seed in an area that's

about 80 to 90 degrees oftentimes the

top of a computer works great seed

remaining terminating that works great

you can grab a hot water bottle and put

it in a cooler and if you get that seed

in an 80 to 90 degree area usually and

within about 24 to 48 hours you'll just

see the little tap root starting to come

out at the point you into that seed at

that point I'll take that seed planted

by an inch deep into that seed starting

mix that I set up I've usually got that

seed starting mix in an area that's also

80 90 degrees and I'll put it in that

area a couple days in advance because I

want to make sure that soil is 80 to 90

degrees when that seed gets in there

I'll put a little micro Rosia a zone a

zone and worm castings into that pot and

that microbiology is going to help those

roots grow and

that plant going as fast as possible I

like to use lots of full-spectrum light

as you can see in this picture I do it

in some ways on the cheap

you get a brooder a full-spectrum CFL

bulb and it works great I'll try to get

those plants out in the Sun as often as

I can in my area it tends to be very

windy and so I know if it's not very

windy I'll put those plants outside all

of them to get used to the bright Sun

because it's nearly impossible to get

enough light out of a grill light setup

that would compare to what the Sun can

do but it's it's sufficient with those


I'd like to use larger pots those roots

grow really fast and if you take like a

Dixie cup that's clear and put in a

large ient seed in it you will see that

root hit the bottom of the cup even

before you see the green sprouting on on

that plant so if you can get a larger

pot allow the roots to grow you don't

want the the roots to get bound up you

don't want it to be in those pots overly

long in my environment I've got to keep

them in those pots a little bit longer

because it's very cold in the spring

where I live and so if I can keep them

in an ideal environment for a little bit

longer I'm better off but at the same

time you don't want too big of a pot

because I find when you're trying to get

transplant it can be a challenge with a

really large pot to be able to properly

get the plant out without damaging the

roots and the roots at this point is key

you know the early season I focus on the

root so I get the root system going is

as big as I can as early as I can

protecting the plant is super-important

I'll put my plants in most growers will

put their plants in what's called a hoop

house which is like a mini greenhouse

you see one that I built last year here

I basically took some two by fours then

took PVC pipe bent into a loop I use the

the caps that you'd use for irrigation I

put the caps on each end of it and with

that going through

the base there works good it not

pictured here I'll have a crossbar that

goes down and goes down to the middle of

the hoop to add some additional support

and then I'll grab from a home depot

some six mill clear plastic and staple

that to the two by fours at the bottom

and now you've created a nice little

structure to protect the plant

particularly at night when you can get

cool or protected from wind those plants

are very sensitive or particularly and

they're really seasoned to the wind so

you got to protect them from that but

without hoop house and the Sun it'll

whoo it'll warm up very quickly so if

it's a full sunny day as soon as that

Sun starts hitting it within 20 minutes

you know it's going to be up to 80

degrees in that hoop house and within 30

minutes you can start getting into

temperatures that won't be very safe for

the plant so on each end I pull the

plastic down with allow some ventilation

and so I can pretty much moderate the

temperature within that hoop house and

have the plan at a nice 80 to 85 degrees

zone for that early part of the season

what it may be a very cool outside at

night I'll put some lights inside the

hoop house to generate some heat and so

that helps protect it from it getting

overly cold it can get relatively cool

even with that but I never get really

below 39 degrees ever and you usually

you can keep it moderately more to keep

the plants happy other things to think

about is wind protection usually I'll

put some silt fences around the edge of

the patch because any time in the year

you can get some pretty strong winds and

that helps protect the plants those big

leaves on a giant pumpkin plant can be

huge you know two feet wide in some

cases for some plants and so that wind

can really rip rip them up so anything

you do to keep the wind down it's great

you know when you first plant your

pumpkin plant it could be a little bit

sensitive to the Sun for those first

three four or five days so

a little extra shade you know over

sometimes they'll put a sheet over the

hoophouse so the plant can kind of

gently get acclimated to its new

environment and he always got to be

worried about insects you know some

areas of the country that can be a lot

worse another I don't have a high insect

pressure in my area when I was in

Colorado Health Protection was huge big

problems in Colorado for that but pretty

much any area that the country can get

hail so sometimes it's important to try

to negate that root protection walking

boards is an excellent idea I'd highly

recommend so you know if you till in the

soil in the spring it's nice and fluffy

and light the roots can easily grow

through that but as you start working on

your plant through the season and start

walking across that soil it would get

compacted very quickly it can get

rock-hard even and those roots cannot

penetrate through that hard soil and so

you're eliminating the amount of

nutrients that the plant can reach and

the mass of the roots and so putting

down some boards to walk on to help

reduce that soil compaction can be key

sometimes bad things happen to good

growers and good pumpkins and this is a

picture right here from a few years ago

where I had a massive hailstorm it it

was a tornado slash hailstorm and this

plant didn't fare very well and one of

the things I bring this up is you know

there's a thousand different things that

could go wrong during the growing season

but don't give up you know if this is

your first year things don't work out

the way you would hope if things can

always be better this is the first year

in a long well that I've actually gotten

over the 50% mark where I'd be able to

get more than 50% over my lifetime of

growing to the scale and so things

happen you mitigate risks you try to

reduce things from the bad things from

happening with time you start losing

learning tricks that can keep that from

happening but don't give up so here's

the genesis of a giant pumpkin plan but

plants like children develop and very

specific sort ways and you can almost

count on certain things happen

certain times as long as things are

ideal you know environment it's

particularly cold spring can delay

things if your nutrients in your soil

right it can delay things but in general

this is the pattern that you'll see so

if you were to start your seeds on April

15th on tax day by the first week of May

you'll be moving that plant outdoor into

into the hoop house so you'll be

planning in the ground around this

second to third week made that plant

start is going to start growing a main

vine so you'll start seeing a vine kind

of coming out of the stump area and

growing out by the first week of June

that line really starts taking off and

within a few days to a week of that your

main vine may be growing as much as a

foot a day yeah different plants will be

a little bit different you know if your

nitrogen is a little too high on soil it

may grow a little faster than you

ideally want but it's gonna really start

taking off around that time you're gonna

wanna pull any your pumpkin starting at

about ten feet out on that main vine so

if you get some female flowers and we'll

talk a little bit about this in a bit

out on the secondaries you'll probably

want to just take those off you want to

grow that pumpkin on the main vine

because that's where the main nutrient

flow is going to be going through that

plant so it's going to grow a pumpkin

faster and better on the main vine so

somewhere between the 10 to 14 maybe 16

feet not on the main vine your is the

ideal spot to grow that pumpkin because

what that mean is is the plant is going

to be big enough both in the root system

and the vines to start supporting that

pumpkin when it gets out to about ten

feet and interestingly enough usually my

first female usually shows up around the

8 9 10 11 12 foot range is when the

first female shows on the vine so it's

starting to tell you hey I'm ready to

start growing some pumpkins here so you

want to get that plant as big as you can

or early on you want to get that root

system particularly as big as you can

early on because once that pumpkin

starts kicking the gear it's really

gonna start taking that plant over

and usually that you know once you've

pollinated around the second week of

June to the fourth of July what we're

talking about ideals here yeah I've had

Paula nations that were earlier than the

second week I've had Paula Nations after

July the fourth there has been really

really big pumpkins grown on pumpkins

that were after the fourth of July so

don't get overly discouraged if things

aren't working out exactly this timeline

but usually about the 24 the 29 th after

pollination that pumpkin is gonna really

take off and when I say really take off

we're talking 25 40 even 50 pounds a day

that pumpkin will be puttin on some

pumpkins tend to be what I would call

long growers so I've had two pumpkins

last year for example that never got

over the 25 pound per day range I was a

little discouraged by it I really wanted

to see him get up into that 40 pound

range day but those particular plants

tended to grow the pumpkins longer

meaning it got up to 25 pounds and it

kind of stayed there a lot longer than a

lot of my other plants have in the past

others will spike up to 40 pounds really

fast and then drop off really fast the

ideal of what you want is those ones to

go to the forty pound range and or plus

and then it stays there for a long time

and when you talk to guys have growing

world-record sized pumpkins they're

talking 4050 pounds and it stays there

for 2-3 weeks at a time and then it

slowly starts tapering off as the season

goes on by mid-july vine growth starts

to slow down considerably as the pumpkin

starts taking over so that pumpkin

starts becoming what's called the sink

and all the nutrients in that plant

start transitioning from vine growth

over to pumpkin growth and you really

want that to happen because that's the

plants figuring out okay the pumpkins

where I need to put all my energy and

that's where your greatest growth is

going to take place so you'll see we're

on mid life those vines start slowing

down it's actually kind of a blessing

because we'll talk about Brian baring

and vine bearings not a lot of fun in my

it's important but but you don't have to

bury vines nearly as much with that

pumpkin starts rolling pumpkin grow

starts to slowly decline about two weeks

after the peak growth and then come

September that pumpkin growth typically

starts declining considerably so by you

know mid September end of September you

may be in the five six seven eight times

a day range and it may even not be

noticeable that the pumpkins even

growing at that point only if you're

measuring like tell the difference so

you want to keep that growth going as

long as you can but that pumpkin usually

in the 90 to 100 date range is gonna

start slowing down to stopping I bling

your plumbing that seedling you want to

plant it in warm soil so usually what

I'm gonna do is I'm going to preheat

that soil that means I'm going to put

down a piece of clear plastic on top of

that planting area and that's going to

get that soil heated up

I'll even pre dig a few days in advance

the the planting hole so I can get the

worm down into that plant area get that

soil warmed up I used soy oil heating

cables for the last time and I noticed a

considerable difference in my early

season growth on the plant it very

valuable as far as I'm concerned when

I'm watering the plant and the early

season in particular but as much I can

throughout the season I'm using warm

water so when it's in the hoop house

it's easy I'll warm up that water either

doing solar or you and sometimes I'll

put a big pot um on the oven and and one

that water to eighty eighty-five degrees

and because if I can get that soil

warmed up the microbiology is going to

get going and there that biology is

gonna start feeding those roots if you

plant the plant into cold soil you'll

see growth really declines sometimes the

plant will start yellowing because even

though the nutrients are there it can't

get at the nutrients because the biology

is not going and feeding that plant so

if you get that soil going you're being

good direct you'll be in good shape

you'll see here there's the first true

leaf these are called cat leaves this is

called the first true leaf and here's a

little thing a little fuzz here what's

gonna happen here is this a little fuzz

is going to turn into a vine eventually

and it's gonna grow in this direction so

when you're applying your plant you want

the first true leaf to be opposite of

the direction that you want the vine to

grow and that's important because if you

pointed the wrong direction it's going

to cause you a little bit of headache so

you can fix it you can kind of bend it

around you got to be careful when you do

that as it starts to grow up then you

got to do it slowly but you can't fix it

you got to be careful with the roots

when you put in the into the pot it end

to the hole you don't want to disturb

those roots too much you don't want

roots breaking off I like to add things

like micro Isaiah azo sect inity into my

planting hole and it'll feed the plant

that biology as well as help protect it

from pathogens and undesirables in the

soil you may be like I said before to

shade the the plant for the first three

four five days when it gets in the soil

if you've done a real good job and that

plants really used to the bright Sun and

it'll do better but sometimes they get a

little limp and don't freak out

everything's okay make sure that soil is

good and moist when you first plant it

you want to get create an environment

with those roots want to grow out all

even over time start pouring the water

farther and farther out and so those

roots were gonna want to try to reach

out to get to that soil which means

greater root mass when you first get in

the soil well another thing is good to

do throughout the season particularly if

you're in a hotter region is mist the

plants during the heat of the day you

know if you get over 91 degrees John

Tabon area the soil scientists said that

photosynthesis basically stops when that

plants at 91 degrees but if you can even

though it may be 90 95 degrees outside

if you can miss that plant and bring its

temperature down and make it think that

it's not that hot outside that plants

going to want to grow more it's

do more photosynthesis it's gonna feed

the pumpkin which is what we want at the

end of the day bye and burying the

maintenance this photo here is from the

the hell damage plant but it's kind of a

nice way to show what a bind pattern

would be like this would be what I would

call a modified Christmas tree pattern

so here is the stop here's the main vine

going up and you'll see it's kind of got

a little Christmas tree shape to it so

when I give that vine going out I start

laying out those vines so they each

going straight out the side that's going

to allow you to have a plant that's not

a jungle the plant that you can get into

if you need to to pull weeds and do

other maintenance on it and out of each

of these vines at each leaf node it's

going to put another little vine growth

so I take each of those off as I'm

putting the laying out the vines and so

basically you end up with a nice little

shape to it so typically you'd have a

pumpkin you know right around here at

the 10-foot mark you get that line going

up I as I lay those vines out I'll also

bury the vine so sometimes I'll do a

little mild trench in front of the vine

so it goes down that trench and then

I'll mound dirt on top of it and the

main reason I do that as it each leaf

node so everywhere there's a leaf stock

going up you'll see a little root

that'll pop up out of the top and the

bottom of that line so if you cover with

dirt put some water on it maybe put a

little Maiko Razia ID each leaf node

there'll be a root that will come out of

the top and bottom that line so rather

than just having this stump with a bunch

of roots coming out of it and these

these roots by then the season can go

out as much as 25 feet there was

actually a scientist who excavated the

root system it wasn't a like giant it

was just a regular pumpkin plant and

they found that their roots and root

hairs that went out as far as 25 feet

from that stump but if you get those

roots growing at each

every one of these leaf nodes you've got

600 700 800 square feet of roots feeding

one pumpkin on the plant so you're

talking a massive root system you want

to like I mentioned before you want to

grow that pumpkin on the main vine so

all of these little side vines are then

feeding that plant and ideally what you

want to do is fill up the entire space

that you've got available and ideal

amount of space for a pumpkin plant is

anywhere from 400 to 800 square feet if

you've only got 150 square feet

grow on 150 square feet I know growers

that have grown 1,200 pound pumpkins

1300 pound pumpkin zhan 200 square feet

so if you're meticulous about it and and

do the basics and make sure you're smart

and everything you do you can grow a

giant in any size space I think a plan

eventually can't get too big if you get

over a thousand square feet I think

there's a lot of energy going to vines

that aren't necessarily feeding back to

the pumpkin so 400 800 square feet in my

opinion would be ideal different

environments I think have a little bit

different requirements also as far as

plant size so in some environments I

think you can get do very well with a

hundred square foot plant I think in

other environments you might be better

off with the 600 square foot plant as we

talked about before you've got these

vines so here's a sideline coming off

this plant here's the little mass that's

at the the tip of the vine if you take

this this mass off this vine will be

terminated it will not grow any further

so when you get about two feet away from

the edge of your planting area or or to

the max width that you want to grow the

plant for me my side vines you're

usually 12 to 15 feet in each direction

so when I get about two feet before

where I want it to be terminated I'll

take off that little mass and it'll

start growing these little things here

that are kind of jetting off

come tendrils they'll latch on to things

that grab at some growers like to take

those off others don't

I prefer to take them off because they

they tend to get in the way and I think

they're just taken away in your energy

from the plant that they don't

necessarily need to give up

so I'll take those off I'd mention at

each leaf node a little vine Bowl will

grow out you'll see one right here is a

little root a little mass is just like

this one but it's just smaller because

it's younger

I'll take those off because you don't

want those tertiary vines coming out

because you'll get this massive mess

going on by the end of season one of you

are getting to the point that you're

gonna pull out any two pumpkin sohere's

and we'll look at another picture of

this so here's a female flower you can

tell us a female you can't see it real

well here but there's this little

pumpkin at the base of the flower and

this flower is turning yellow and this

happens the within 24 hours of this

flower opening up so this the next

morning this flower is going to open up

so I'll I'll start days in advance of

this opening up slowly bending this vine

this main vine and well the reason I do

that call it an s-curve as well as that

pumpkin starts growing it gets bigger

and bigger and bigger if you don't give

it some slack and get this vine out of

the way that pumpkin will start growing

into that line and when that happens you

can potentially crack the stem crack the

pumpkin or rip the pumpkin completely

off the vine as it grows into it so as

you started pre-planning this and you

want to do this during the heat of the

day when the fines a little bit more

rubbery if you do it early in the

morning the vine can be stiff and it can

just snap right on you and I had that

happened before and it was very

discouraging so you do it during the

heat of the day you do it slowly maybe

an inch or two a day and so over a few

days you can get a nice curve in that

vine going to get that pumpkin away from

the vine you also are gonna want to

remove the roots so I don't I didn't

bury this main vine next to the pumpkin

and underneath this leaf node here

you're gonna find a little root that's

going to grow there'll also be one right

here so don't forget about the one

that's right next to the pond

can they leave a route that'll go down

so you're gonna want to reach out reach

under that vine and rip that route off

because what will happen is that pumpkin

starts growing up its gonna hold on to

that ground and it's going to start

pulling stress onto that stem on the

pumpkin and that can cause you troubles

down the road as I mentioned before

usually I'll grow my pumpkin on on sand

a lot of growers growing mill fabric

which is also a good thing what I'll do

is a give a smooth surface for that

pumpkin to slide as it grows because I

grow on sand I'll actually literally

have these little mounds of sand on the

edge of the pumpkin because as it's

grown during the day it bulldozes that

sand as it goes out but that sand allows

that pumpkin to easily slide as it grows

it also quickly allows the water to wick

away from the pumpkin you don't want it

getting wet underneath that pumpkin too

much otherwise you know you can get rock

going on and ulsan the pumpkin will be

cranking along real fast and also one

day it just stops and then a couple days

later you start getting the smell rot

and you know exactly what's happened

I've controlled pollination so here's

again a picture of a female pumpkin and

this one's about to open up because you

can you see these flower petals are

elongated they started turning yellow

the pumpkin starts getting real I

shouldn't say real big it starts getting

bigger in the hours today before the

flower is going to open so at this point

I know this one's going to open up the

next day so I'll cover it up some

growers will take a rubber band or take

a tendril and tie it on this flower so

the bees can't get to it if a bee

pollinates the pumpkin it's not going to

affect the pumpkin at all but the seeds

in the pumpkin we don't know who the

pollinator was so it could be a

different type of squash which would be

undesirable but also if you know who

Marla and pop is you could also kind of

control the genetics so the next

generation that's coming from that

those seeds will hopefully be desirable

so what I'll do is I'll cut off some of

the male flowers you'll see this is the

male flower because it doesn't have any

little pumpkin at the at the base one

back and so what I'll do is I'll take

the metal flower I'll cut those off the

evening before put them in some water

inside the house and the bees can't get

to him I've got my female covered up the

night before usually I'll put a chair

over just a plastic yard chair over the

pumpkin so what we're gonna do is take

that male flower in the morning usually

before 7:30

I'll get outside and I'll take the

petals off of that male flower you'll

see here's the the stamen it's covered

in pollen and I'll rub that around the

inside of the flower there and kind of

flick that poem so I get as much pause I

can usually I'll use three flowers if I

can from that plant and so I can get as

much pollen on that as I possibly can

and then after I do that I'll then cover

the female flower again you know so the

bees don't get in there for the next few

hours I'll try to make sure that I keep

that flower protector from water the

night before so a lot of times what I'll

do is though I water early in the

morning that morning usually I'll turn

off that water so this female flower

doesn't get wet because sometimes

they'll open a little bit even with that

covering that I've got on the flower and

I don't want water getting inside of it

and I mentioned before I put a plastic

chair or without flower days in advance

to help keep it cool because you usually

you're pollinating into June and it can

be 90 degrees very easily so that's how

you do a controlled pollination

fertilizing the pumpkin plants you don't

want to do too much you know sometimes

you get on the season the pumpkins not

doing what you

it should be doing and you get anxious

and so you start throwing a bunch of

fertilizer on it and sometimes that can

cause you more help than good so you

want to give the pumpkin plant just what

it wants when it needs it or just before

it needs it and that's what I would call

spoon feeding so little amounts of

fertilizer literally every single day

you know you know don't necessarily have

to do that but little amounts of

fertilizer every single day is going to

continually feed and I'm talking very

small amounts where you just kind of

give it a little nudge to the plant all

the time when we're talking about

fertilizer we're talking about nitrogen

phosphorus and potassium so NPK and so

you'll see on a bag of fertilizer it's

going to say something like four four

four or twelve five seven so the first

number is nitrogen the second number is

phosphorus and the last number is

potassium here would be what are they

called the 101 version of fertilizing if

you say hey Jamie

I just want to grow five hundred seven

and Tom pumpkin I don't want to spend a

ton of money I don't spend a ton of time

here's a great way you can do it there's

raw fertilizers put out by NPK

industries I think are fantastic one of

this is there one of those is called the

growth formula it's a seven for five so

it's higher in nitrogen and little small

amounts of raw grow every day up until

about three weeks after pollination I

think it is a fantastic way to push that

pumpkin along you lit the nitrogen that

it needs give it a little bit of

phosphorous and potassium to get those

root system going and then once we get

about three weeks after pollination that

pumpkin is getting ready to really take

off so what we're going to do is we're

going to switch to the raw raw bloom

which is a three twelve twelve we still

need some nitrogen that plants still

growing it's still brining we want to

keep that going but now we're going to

start giving a little bit more potassium

and phosphorus

to build that fruit it's also gonna be a

little bit of a signal the fruit does

hey you need to start growing pumpkin

rather than growing vines because

sometimes a plant that just wants to

grow salad at the end the day that

doesn't win championships and that

doesn't win way offs we want big

pumpkins so we're going to tell the that

plant okay start feeding that pumpkin

follow the directions on the label but

if you're spoon-feeding

you're doing micro amounts every single

day to that pumpkin the root rhizosphere

so basically a root so here's your root

has an area around it where you can

actually reach to nutrients only about

two percent of the soil actually has

roots in it and those roots are able to

reach those nutrients in the soil so

when you have a soil test it may say hey

you've got this much of nitrogen you've

got this much of potassium but that root

can only grab so far into that soil to

grab those nutrients so it can deplete

that rhizosphere area where those

nutrients are at so that's where

spoon-feeding comes and that's where

we're just kind of adding a little bit

of nutrients into that rhizosphere area

because as we talked about before a root

rhizosphere can be depleted of available

potassium in as little as 2 to 4 days

and so as the season goes on that plant

is continually pulling nutrients out of

that soil there may be potassium just

outside the reach of what is available

but in a high demand fast growth it's

trying to pull everything that it can in

to that root and it may get to a spot

where it just can't reach any more

potassium in that area so you can start

having the pumpkin slowing down a growth

because it can't get at the nutrients

that it needs micro Zeya is a fungus

that you could purchase and put down and

you're playing holes put down to each of

the leaf nodes when you have the leaf

nodes when you're burying the vines and

that micro zaiah fungi has a synergistic

relationship with the plant the plant

will give it sugars it basically kind of


the fungus and the fungus in return

brings back water nutrients particularly

our phosphorus back to the root and so

that micro Zeya will actually grow these

little it almost looks like spiderweb

strands that go out into the soil so or

it can reach where the root isn't able

to reach so using biology in the soil

you can actually increase your pumpkin

growth potentially considerably if

conditions right so here's my

spoon-feeding fertilizing program so if

you say okay Jamie I'm looking for a

thousand plus pound pumpkin you know I

want to spend a little more time maybe a

little bit more money here's what I'm

doing during the season to try to to get

maximum growth and this would have to be

adjusted according to your environment

in your soil type so I've got a sandy

soil because that things tend to leach

out the fertilizers tend to be a little

less available or I should say the

nutrients tend to be a little less

available to the plant and so because

that I have to do things a little bit

different than if I was in a clay soil

for example but in general this program

will work for anything but what I like

to do is I put lay out a program like

this for myself before the season starts

and then I start watching the plant

it'll start telling you through its

growth through the color of the leaves

and everything else what's going on and

then you make adjustments accordingly so

in May I'm focusing on the roots so when

it's in the pot when it's when I plant

it outside you know that plan initially

doesn't do a lot of growth well when you

first transplant outside and what you

really want it to do is you want it to

focus on that root system you want to

get those root systems going out as big

as you can so I'm adding fertilizers and

other microbe type of products that are

gonna help grow the roots so when I'm

first putting in the ground I'm getting

a little liquid seaweed which is also

referred to as kelp in some cases my co

microbes azo s all those things are

going to help grow the roots inside the

liquid seaweed there's a bunch of

micronutrients but there's also hormones


we're gonna tell the roots to grow and

so that liquid sea we can help grow that

that root mask quickly and week two I'm

given the plant phosphorus that Mahna

Mahna morning and phosphate that I

mentioned before 20% larger root mass if

given to the plant in the first three

weeks of growth so again focusing on

those roots getting them going you'll

see in week 3 I'm giving the plants some

fish fertilizer a lot of micronutrients

a little bit higher in nitrogen but it's

got some potassium and phosphorus as

well and I'm given more fish and seaweed

and work week 4 I'm given the plan of

Mina which is a an amino acid it's also

relatively high in nitrogen so again

getting those root systems going but now

I'm starting to tell the plant ok start

getting ready to vine that nitrogen is

gonna start want to get the plant

pushing out a little bit and by week

four its you're usually you're gonna see

some binding going on at this point so

we want to support that binding week

five I'm given the plants in blood mill

it's a it's a nitrate form of nitrogen

and nitrate demand tends to be higher

during the binding of the plant we're

still giving the plant you know

phosphorus and potassium as well but now

are transitioning a little bit more

towards the nitrogen to support the vine

growth that's going on and the new

leaves that are coming on I like to do a

little bit of a foliar multi-mineral the

multi mineral that I use is got things

like iron and magnesium and so forth so

it's a chelated form of mineral that I

put into a spray pump and then I spray

it on the leaves and one of the reasons

I do that is sometimes some of the

micronutrients that are in the soil

aren't being taken up or aren't

available through the plant and so by

spraying down the leaves that will get

absorbed into the leaves and so some of

the nutrients that may not be in being

the up taken by the roots or

those leaves and making sure the planet

has what means when I'm in week six I do

a little bit more phosphorous to support

the flowering you know this plant we

want those those female and male flowers

to start developing because in week

seven we're looking at pollination so

we're still doing a decent amount of

nitrogen you know with this raw seven

four or five and we've got a little bit

of nitrogen still being going on but in

week seven or talking about growing

pumpkins which is exciting because

you've done a lot of works at this point

it could be even a little bit

discouraging because of the work that's

going on but once you start seeing that

pumpkin growing and seeing the you know

the fruits of your Labor's that's great

you'll notice on here I do a fair amount

of compost tea I do have what's called

an aerated compost tea I'm not going to

talk a lot about that here but it's

building the biology so some of that's

going into the soil some of its going on

the leaves it's going to help protect

the plant it's gonna help feed the plant

and help keep pathogens down and week

eight or the vines are still growing

fast even though we've got the pumpkin

on the vine so we need nitrogen but now

I'm not in what's called TKO which is

high potassium and phosphorous it also

is a fungicide and so you know we're

ramping up a little bit here now as far

as the pumpkin goes but we're still

doing the nitrogen kind of in between

right now between the pumpkin growth and

the vine growth we got to get that those

vines growing as big as we can right now

because once that pumpkin gets into gear

Brian growth is going to slow down

considerably and if if the pumpkins

starting to take over and our plant

hasn't got big enough there's not gonna

be enough leaves to do photosynthesis

not gonna be enough roots to start

feeding that pumpkin you'll notice most

of every week you I have humic acid

listed I've mentioned humic acid before

it can make nutrients more available to

the plants so it can aid in the uptake

and so I had just to touch just a little

bit of humic acid to most of what I'm


week nine

still doing a lot of the same of what we

were doing in the week eight week tend

same sort of thing and week 11 now we're

starting to transition the pumpkin

now we're going less nitrogen more

potassium that pumpkins going to start

really feeding around week 11 depending

on when you pollinated and so we're

given the that that plant more and more

potassium at this time less nitrogen

kind of signaling to the plant again

alright we don't need as much vine

growth now we want one to focus on the

pumpkin in week 12 I started giving the

plant a little cane molasses and that's

basically put onto the soil because what

can happen is is the plant really starts

gearing up and it's feeding that pumpkin

it can get a little bit stingy to the

microbes so when that microbe is sending

nutrients to the plant the plant gives

back sugars well it's the plants kind of

getting stressed right now is that

pumpkins really gearing up and so it'll

start giving less sugars back to the

microbes so with total cane molasses to

feed those microbes because we want them

to continue to feed the plant as much as

as we can and again we're lowering the

nitrogen around week 12 a little bit

higher potassium at this point in August

we're now focused on the fruit you know

we're continuing to do our NPK and we

continue to do a little bit of higher

potassium at this plant season I'd like

to spray some microbes called actinovate

on the leaves it also works on the soil

it's really unique in that way but this

time the year I'll do a little bit of


activity I found it really great for

protecting the plant from powdery mildew

that little white stuff that grows on

the leaves it looks like a powder on the

leaves activity that I find really

reduces that but you got to get ahead of

it once you've seen the powdery mildew

it's too late so you got to get that

activated on those leaves a little bit

earlier to help

checked it because usually around week

14 or week 15 you might start seeing a

little bit of activity you know it's

kind of weather dependent I find but in

my area around you know week now I

actually I see well around week 15 week

16 you can start seeing a little bit of

problems the compost tea that I put on

leaves I think helps keep the powdery

mildew away but it it's pretty minimal

in my opinion week 16 again TKO when you

you see kale you want to make sure you

don't use copper in the weeks before or

weeks after so I don't do any of the

multi the foliar multi mineral which has

copper in it because copper and TKO

don't mix well together a little more

cane molasses feed in the biology in the

soil a little fulvic acid and replace of

humic acid works very similar to human

acid but it's the smaller parts of it

the fulvic acid i use also has some iron

in it so good to add this time of the

year to keep the enzymes going week 17

things are kind of tailoring off you

want to keep that pumpkin growing as

much as you can into the seasons or you

know we've got the raw 3 12 12 vine

growth might start taking off a little

bit on you in September because the the

pumpkin growth starts tapering off so

there's more energy for the vines so you

know we're still doing some nitrogen but

we're also doing that 12 12 to keep the

pumpkin going at this time the year I'll

start doing a little fuller seaweed

I'm gonna do I'm gonna try something a

little different this year that was

recommended to me and do a little less

foliar seaweed during the season some

feel that it may start aging the pumpkin

a little bit earlier and so I'm gonna

try holding off until late in the season

one nice thing about seaweed those

sprayed on the leaves as a foliar

application is I think it can help keep

your your leaves healthier particularly

in the late part of the season here

they're going to start looking pretty

tired a little bit more beat up and if

you take a like

a leaf cut it off put a dot of seaweed

like in the center of that leaf and then

let it dry out watch to see what happens

where you put that dot of seaweed it'll

stay green longer so I believe that the

sea we may have some application and

keeping the leaves healthier late in the

season you'll see I'm still doing some

actinovate trying to keep that powdery

mildew at bay one nice thing about

seaweed also it's a potassium source so

it's a nice foliar application to get

potassium into the leaves and so we're

just trying to grow this thing as long

as we can late into the season when you

look at a fertilizer I say buyer beware

there there's fertilizers out there and

you won't know what they are but they're

fertilized are out there that don't

necessarily have an in on what they have

on the label there's other fertilizers

that can be very costly have some very

fancy labels on them but when you look

at them there's not much to them so

here's here's the analysis for this

fertilizer it's got one percent

potassium in it and then essentially

some sugars this bottle was twenty four

ninety seven listed online basically it

breaks down to about point zero two

pounds of potassium and some sugars in


if you've grabbed out of your cupboard a

little bit of molasses and put that on

the soil you'd probably get more

potassium and more sugars out of it so

basically what you're buying is 99%

water here so make sure when you're

buying fertilizers it's from sources

that are of quality have integrity and

what they're doing fungicides

insecticides I'm not going to spend a

lot of time with this but you know

there's different fungicides programs it

some areas you really need more

fungicides than others you know for

organic growers there's things such as

activate and sesame seed oil that can be

somewhat effective on fungicides having

good growing practices how where the

plants healthy helps keep the plants

protected from fungicides so you got to

make sure you're watching the plants in

that way and know your area and talk to

local grower

and see what they're using to protect

their plants insecticides same thing

there's things such as contact ins which

basically means when the poison touches

the insect it it'll kill it there's

systemic which means it's taken up into

the plant the plant the insect the

insect bites the plant it gets the

poison and kills it in our area things

such as cucumber beetles and squash bugs

or real problems because not only do

these insects bite and take nutrients

from the plant or you know eat on the

leaves the worst thing about the

cucumber beetles and the squash bugs is

they will give the plants diseases so

they'll get infected the bite your plant

your plant will get the virus and things

like yellow brine disease and so forth

will in your season very quickly and

unfortunately when you're not growing or

even during the season research research

and then tests ask some respect to

growers talk to growers in your area ask

for advice

you'll sometimes get a lot of different

advice and sometimes it'll be

conflicting but the basics are all there

so I talk to the best growers go read

online research make sure you're getting

information from credible sources

there's a lot of junk that's out on the

internet so you know if it's scientists

speaking about it and they've actually

done real tests on it that's one thing

if it's a marketer who's trying to sell

a product and they're given information

about it it's sometimes not all but that

it seems to be speak to soil scientists

and go do your own testing you know one

thing you can do in the off season grab

some C's throw them in a pot put on

lights and try different things so I

have tried different soil starting mixes

and found drastically different results

based on what I use so do your own

testing and find out what's going to

work best for you a lot of times I hear

new growers be concerned about how do I

get this five hundred seven or eight

hundred pound pumped into the way off

don't sweat it

your local growers can help you figure

out what you got to do to get it there

here you'll see from my very first

season we threw a pumpkin

party and basically pumpkin party was a

great way to get a bunch of friends over

to help left the pumpkin as the pumpkins

gotten bigger I haven't been able to do

it this way in what sense but you'll see

this is called a pumpkin lifting tarp

it's basically a heavy canvas tarp you

can find these online you roll the

pumpkin up you roll it the heavy canvas

tarp under it and then you get a bunch

of good friends to help load it up for

the way off put the pumpkin on a pallet

usually I'll take the the wood pallet

which you can find all over the place

and I'll put a little piece of foam like

you see in the picture there

it keeps the pumpkin from sliding for

one when it's being transported but also

gives a little bit cushion during

transport to make sure it safely arrives

that its way off so here's the summary

for 101 growing giant pumpkins start

your seeds around April 15th indoors

plant outdoors around the first week of

Maine in a hoop house spoon feed that

plant small amounts of fertilizer

continuously and I mean small small

amounts we're just micro feeding it keep

the patch weed free don't contact the

soil keep the soil lightly moist so with

the soil you don't want it muddy you

don't want it dried out you know if you

put your finger down one inch you it

should be moist all the time so all

water pretty much every day early in the

morning bury the vines and maintain the

vine pattern if you want to add a couple

of hundred pounds really easily to your

pumpkins bury the lines as those vines

are growing out it's going to help add

roots to the plant it's going to protect

the plant from winds and and the vines

getting blown and rolled all over the

place particularly those vines get

bigger and the leaves get bigger

sometimes they like to flop over and

that that mounting of the dirt on top of

those vines will help keep those plants

upright and protected protect the plant

you know for your area that might mean

different things you know insecticides

fungicides shade cloth hell netting

whatever is required for your area to

create an environment where the

it's gonna be in its ideal growing

condition do that and most of all have


do it with your family and grab the kids

and get them involved participate with

your community you know throw a pumpkin

party I'd love to take the pumpkins to

local schools after the lay off and let

them appreciate it you know make it an

enjoyable thing it's a lot of work but

at the end the season it can be an

immense amount of fun and always

remember there are no pumpkins that are

too small hail and a here at growers say

they came to the way off they worked

hard during the season but they didn't

bring the pumpkin to the way out because

they said oh it's too small there's no

such thing as too small you know real

bigger the next year but let people

appreciate your hard work during that

season I hope you enjoyed this

presentation feel free to go to giant

pumpkin man calm down there you'll find

everything that I do during the season

you'll find seeds you'll find a lot of

the different fertilizers that you've

seen in the presentation could be

purchased on there you'll find DVD

videos from world record holders so go

to giant pumpkin mancom and enjoy your

season good luck